Lifting the HOA Veil

In real estate sales, sellers are required to disclose any material fact that any prudent buyer would want to know before completing a purchase. Property located over a toxic waste dump would be an obvious example of disclosure and the need for it. There are less catastrophic issues, like roof condition or a leaking crawlspace […]

Water damage in condo buildings (IL)

The irony. Your condo building stretches 20 storeys high, but it took less than 20 minutes for your floor to be engulfed by water.  When a pipe bursts in a condo building, it doesn’t take long for the water to fill up hallways, stairwells and individual units. The incident may end quickly, but the effects […]

Effective Board Leadership: A Strategic Approach

Prioritize goal setting with tangible outcomes. Establishing result-oriented goals should be the initial focus for all board members. These goals should stem from a thorough evaluation of the association’s current needs and its future aspirations.   Read the article…………………………….

How NYC co-op and condo boards can crackdown on illegal short-term rentals

New York City’s crackdown on illegal short-term rentals has made it more difficult for apartment owners and renters to skirt the law and rent out their units. But illegal short-term rental schemes haven’t disappeared completely.  Just two months ago, the city levied $845,000 in fines against a real estate firm for an alleged illegal Airbnb […]

Navigating the Transition Process with New HOA Board Members (CA)

Congratulations on your new role as an HOA board member! Your dedication to serving your community is commendable, and your commitment to ensuring the smooth operation of your homeowner’s association is vital. As you embark on this journey, it’s essential to understand the transition process and how to effectively integrate new board members into their […]

Tips for Effective HOA Board Communication

Effective communication is not just a tool but the very essence of a successful homeowner’s association (HOA) Board. It is the thread that weaves harmony throughout the community. Without good communication, HOA Boards will deal with much more conflict and discontent from their residents.  Such an important skill deserves devoted study. That is why we […]

Pools

When I first started practicing community association law, I was warned about the 3 P’s – pools, pets, and parking. While I have certainly dealt with issues involving the 3 P’s, they have not consumed nearly as much time as other issues. I attribute that, in part, to our firm’s proactive approach to educating our […]

Flying the American Flag On Memorial Day and Flag Day

The unofficial start of summer is here. As we prepare to observe Memorial Day—a day to honor those who died while serving in the U.S. military—many HOA and condo residents across the country will display the American flag.  According to the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the American flag should be flown at half-staff […]

How this former Tesla engineer plans to get more EV chargers in apartments and condos

Multifamily homes—including condo and apartment buildings, townhouses, and mixed-use developments—make up some 30% of housing in the U.S. today. In those residences, parking spots may not be near outlets, residents may not have their own parking, and building owners and boards may not want to deal with the cost of installing EV chargers, especially if […]

How to Get the Most from Your HOA

Living in a community governed by a Homeowners Association (HOA) can offer numerous benefits, from maintaining property values to fostering a sense of belonging. However, to truly make the most of your HOA experience, it’s best to understand how to engage effectively with it. Here are some practical tips and tricks to help you build […]

Buying a condo? Understand the CC and Rs before you buy (FL)

Buying a condo is often touted as the perfect hybrid experience of “owning your own place” while still having a lot of the benefits of having a management company handle some of the major issues as if you were a tenant.  However, you don’t want to jump on a great deal for a condo without […]

As insurers around the US bleed cash from climate shocks, homeowners lose

At first glance, Dave Langston’s predicament seems similar to headaches facing homeowners in coastal states vulnerable to catastrophic hurricanes: As disasters have become more frequent and severe, his insurance company has been losing money. Then, it canceled his coverage and left the state.  But Langston lives in Iowa.   Read the article…………………………….

HOA Homefront: 18 things I wish all HOA members knew (CA)

This is the second in a five-part series on HOA need-to-know items. 1. HOA living involves a tradeoff of independence in exchange for the benefits the HOA provides. Someone unwilling to trust others to make decisions and who must personally make all decisions is probably not cut out for HOA living. The board makes decisions […]

Reserve Funds: Don’t Be Scared to Use Them!

It begins with piggy banks. As children, birthday money, allowance, and loose coins from the floor of dad’s car were placed for safekeeping in the small slit on top of a ceramic animal until it was time to smash it open, meaning enough had been saved to buy the coveted toy or electronic. As teenagers, […]

Insurance Costs on the Rise: What Can Community Associations Do? (FL)

With a major hurricane making landfall somewhere in Florida on nearly an annual basis over the past several years, Florida’s property insurance market is in turmoil. Many carriers have left the state and those carriers still willing to write policies in the state have drastically increased the cost of their annual premiums. Many of our […]

How to Form an Effective Utah HOA Social Committee

For many, homeowners association (HOA) living is nothing but strict rules and high fees. That’s a reality for some, sure, but many HOAs have far more to offer. HOAs should be dedicated to an equally important role: encouraging a sense of community and belonging among residents.   Read the article…………………………….

The ABCs of HOA Covenant Enforcement

There is perhaps no task more vexing for a Board of Directors than enforcing the Association’s rules and covenants. Done improperly, covenant enforcement actions can be tiresome, ineffective, and expensive. Incorporating these fundamental principles, the enforcement ABCs, can ensure that your Association is able to navigate this process with ease.   Read the article…………………………….

The Ethics of the Fiduciary Duty from the Litigators’ Lens

The topic of an association’s board of directors’ fiduciary duties is not new to this publication. However, as trial attorneys that have seen a lot of HOA litigation, including representing community management companies, we have seen how this duty plays out in court cases for both board members and community managers. Moreover, as our industry […]

There is No “I” in Board – The Collective Responsibility of Your Condo Board

Condominium and common interest community associations operate under a board of directors typically comprised of three to seven owners, who then elect officers like president, treasurer, and secretary. The role of president is crucial, serving as the primary liaison between the board and professionals, setting meeting agendas, and leading discussions. However, the president’s authority is […]

To Give or Receive: A Guide to Crafting a Gifting Policy for Managers, Management Companies, and Boards

Gift-giving in the workplace amongst managers, management companies and vendors can be a thoughtful gesture, but it can also be complicated by the untrue perceptions or lack of understanding where “the line” is. To ensure a positive and ethical environment, management companies need clear gifting policies that managers and our vendor partners understand and abide […]

Community Cohesion

While HOAs can sometimes be subject to misconceptions, cultivating community cohesion can transform them into vibrant, valuable communities. Community cohesion entails a sense of solidarity, trust, and active participation among residents, ultimately elevating the HOA experience. Here are five compelling reasons why nurturing community cohesion can propel an HOA in Arizona to new heights:    Read […]

Can a Co-Op Board Make Autopay Mandatory for a Deadbeat Shareholder? (NY)

A board member at a 10-unit Harlem co-op has a problem and a question. The problem is that one of the 10 shareholders never pays his monthly maintenance on time, which, in such a small building, puts a strain on the other nine shareholders. The two-pronged question is: Can the board require the deadbeat to […]

Community Associations’ Use of Best Efforts to Obtain Insurance (FL)

Each year, condominium associations work to obtain insurance at reasonable rates in an effort to comply with their statutory obligations to use “best efforts” to obtain insurance. In recent years, however, insurance rates have increased significantly, causing associations to question whether insurance is required at any cost. While best practice is, of course, for an […]

Making Your Property Accessible

In both condos and apartments, owners and homeowner associations are responsible for making their properties accessible to all people. There is a responsibility to address all kinds of requests and grant them as long as they don’t burden your operations. Let’s take a look at how to best address making your property accessible whether you […]

Buying a Home in an HOA? Why Reviewing CC&Rs Matters

Thinking about purchasing a condominium, townhome, or other residence within a homeowners association (HOA)? Be sure to read and understand the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) prior to closing. These rules will spell out what homeowners are allowed and not permitted to do on the property.   Read the article…………………………….

Strengthening Community Associations: The Vital Role of a Comprehensive Assessment Recovery Policy and Procedure

Community associations are founded on principles of shared responsibility and collective maintenance. From maintaining common elements to providing essential services, every member’s contribution in the form of assessments is vital. However, ensuring timely payment of these assessments can often be challenging. This underscores the importance of establishing a robust policy and procedure for collecting assessments. […]

Shining a Light on Rooftop Solar for Massachusetts Condo Owners

After the Trustees of his condominium refused his request for an Architectural Variance to install rooftop solar photovoltaic (SPV) panels on his unit, the owner brought suit in the Land Court seeking a determination that the Master Deed and the Declaration of Trust “which restricts the installation of objects in common areas without the Trustees’ […]

3 Things to Do Today to Prepare Your Association for Disaster (FL)

For board members of homeowners and condo associations in Florida, addressing disaster preparedness and safety/security issues is crucial due to the region’s susceptibility to hurricanes, tornados, and other emergencies. A bit of preparation can lead to a much easier recovery after a critical event. As experienced property managers in Florida, we’ve learned a few things. […]

How to voice out your concerns about HOA dues increase

When you live in a community managed by a Homeowners Association (HOA), you understand your responsibility to pay regular dues to help maintain the quality of your neighborhood. However, a significant increase in contributions might seem suspicious, especially when the change was not communicated properly to you. As a homeowner, you have the right to […]

Pool Rules and Safety Practices

We recommend that pool rules be adopted and mailed or emailed to all Owners and residents. If the Board of Directors isn’t clear on the legalities of certain rules such as adult swim times or unaccompanied children in the pool area, please ensure to obtain the Association attorney’s legal advice as pool rules can at […]

How condo insurance works (WA)

Condo or townhome insurance offers coverage similar to homeowner insurance. It’s for people who own an individual unit within a larger condo or townhome community.  For people living in these communities, there’s typically two insurance policies that cover different parts of their living space. One is paid for by owner dues and covers certain losses […]

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Community Associations

DEI is a term you might be hearing and reading about in the news lately. DEI stands for diversity, equity and inclusion. DEI is tied to civil rights laws and preventing discrimination in employment and housing based on someone’s characteristics. In California, the characteristics protected by law include:  Race, color, ancestry, national origin, citizenship, immigration […]

Squatters: What is a Board to Do? (CO)

With housing availability and affordability at an all-time low and homeless populations at an all-time high, the issue of squatters in vacant properties is becoming more prevalent in association communities. The news has published extreme cases in New York of squatters being treated as legitimate tenants under New York law with the actual owners spending […]

Service Animals vs. Emotional Support Animals: An Overview

Community associations have been scratching their heads as to the difference between service animals and emotional support animals. Federal law provides for the definition of service animals, but there is very little guidance when it comes to emotional support animals. This can be problematic for associations who may unknowingly be implementing discriminatory practices.   Read the […]

De-escalation – Tried and True Techniques

“Conflict is a good thing” was the sales pitch from a rug salesman desperate to try and shift the most hideous fuchsia floor rug that would have been objectively unacceptable to any design theory to my father in the early 90s and has become a running gag whenever there is a disagreement in our household. […]

Navigating Summertime Woes: Challenges Community Associations Face

As the temperatures rise and the days grow longer, the nicer weather brings a flurry of activity to community associations. While the season offers residents ample opportunities for enjoyment and relaxation, it also presents unique challenges for associations to navigate. From increased maintenance demands to possible conflicts over communal spaces, summertime can put a strain […]

Questions To Ask When Considering Buying In An HOA

Becoming part of a homeowner’s association is a growing reality of the home-buying process in the U.S. Approximately 75.5 million Americans live in a community controlled by a homeowner’s association, states the Foundation for Community Association Research. More than 3,000 additional HOAs will form this year, the foundation adds. In 2022, 84% of new-construction, single-family […]

The Importance of Communication

Effective communication stands as the cornerstone of success for HOA/condo associations. From fostering transparency to nurturing a sense of community, clear and consistent communication channels can distinguish excellent associations from mediocre ones. Set forth below are some strategies to promote outstanding communication skills within your community:   Read the article…………………………….

Can an HOA mandate where people park? (CT)

A homeowners’ association can have a serious impact on how people use their own property. The HOA can legally make rules about stylistic or design choices when adding onto a home, for example. They can enforce noise restrictions or have rules about when people can put up decorations.   Read the article…………………………….

Freddie Mac Provides Condo Associations Access to Loan Eligibility Status

While Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have developed lists of condo associations that are ineligible for participation in their mortgage programs, the challenge for associations begins with their inability to learn from the government-sponsored entities whether their communities are on the lists. In response to widespread calls to provide associations with access to the information […]

Can your HOA prevent you from renovating your house? (FL)

A house is one huge investment that most people aspire to attain in their lives. And when you finally achieve this goal, you will feel excited to personalize it and make it truly your own. However, before you proceed with that renovation plan, check if there are restrictions in your neighborhood.   Read the article…………………………….

Do we have any volunteers? South Florida condo associations struggle to find directors

The recent changes to Florida’s Condominium Act aimed at bolstering the structural elements of aging buildings are leading to increases in monthly dues for many communities, which in turn is causing a ripple effect on the willingness of owners to volunteer to serve on their association’s board of directors. Raising association budgets and implementing special […]

Can a HOA really tell you what to do about your grill smoke?

Summer is nearly here and that means that it’s the perfect time to get grilling.  However, if you live in a homeowners association, you may need to think twice before you fire up your grill. Homeowners associations – or HOAs – often have regulations about where and how you grill.    Read the article…………………………….

Not Crazy: Insurance Premiums

Before we look at the data, I can speak about my local experience in Southwest Florida. Specifically, my Homeowners Association is required to carry insurance on the external part of the townhomes. When I joined the board in 2021, our annual premium was $15k. By the end of the year, the carrier went into receivership. […]

Understanding Home Rentals in HOA Communities: A Homeowner’s Guide

As homeowners choose to rent out their properties within HOA communities, it’s essential for homeowners to understand the implications, responsibilities, and best practices associated with leasing their homes. Whether you’re a first-time landlord or looking to optimize your rental strategy, here are key considerations to keep in mind.    Read the article…………………………….